This strategy has been used by influencers from the very beginning of Instagram. Shoutout for shoutout happens when accounts of similar sizes agree on posting each other’s pictures/videos at the same time. A lot of bigger accounts delete these posts after a few hours from them going live, in order to keep their page looking clean.

For smaller accounts, it might not matter as much if they keep the post on their page or if they take it off after a few hours have passed.

The whole point for shoutout-for-shoutout types of deals is to tap into other account’s audience and see if they will decide to follow your account. Very rarely do two accounts have the same exact accounts following them. The opportunity to be seen by new sets of eyes is out there, and you should utilize it. I personally have done this with a decent level of success a few times. However, because my followers are used to seeing a particular yellow car, they do not engage much when I post other people’s cars.

If you are in a broader niche and you have been making posts around a broader subject, your posts could perform very well. If you think about it, that’s exactly how huge reposting accounts have grown their following.

There are a few ways you can do shoutouts. You could simply repost a picture of another account and tell others to follow them. You could take a screenshot of their page and ask your followers to follow them.

Or you could do a collab with the other account. This is by far my favorite. Collabs are where you meet up with another influencer and do a shoot or a video together. Then both of you post on your profiles and give each other a shoutout. Not only because it seems and feels less scammy, but because you get to build relationships.

When doing shoutouts, it’s very important to stick to your niche. If you are a surfer and you do a collab with a cat lover, chances are that the results will not be as you might expect. But then again, you never know unless you try. As for me, I like to stick to the things that I already know that work, so doing a collaboration with someone in your niche, should be the safest bet.


A lot of bigger accounts are in focus groups. A focus group is a closed group either on Instagram DM’s, FB Messenger or Telegram. These groups are made with one goal in mind, to boost engagement of posts for each member of the group.

The way it works is simple. Let’s say a group has 15 members in it (Instagram group chat max), every time either one of the members makes a post on Instagram, he or she will right away share that post to the group. Everyone in the group then will go on and engage with the post, either like or comment, usually both.

The purpose for this type of forced engagement is to increase relevance of each post for the members in the group. Let’s say the accounts have around 10K followers, by each one of them engaging, Instagram algorithms are forced to think that the post is relevant since all of these decently sized accounts are engaging in it.

That was the case before, however, nowadays algorithms have become much smarter. What I have been noticing is that these types of engagements are now being overlooked by Instagram while calculating the relevancy score of these posts.

Machine learning is getting better and better with each day. It is just a matter of time before the Artificial Intelligence of Instagram will catch up with the same accounts liking and commenting on all of the posts by the same accounts day in and day out.

While this method still could work, there are a few annoying things that you will have to deal with. I have been a part of a few engagement focus groups myself and I noticed the same trends with each one of them. People tend to stop participating and doing their part as time goes by. It gets to the point where most of the people will not even participate on others’ posts but will keep posting into the chat expecting others to participate.

Another thing that is very common is that a lot of people don’t take the time before forming these types of groups filtering people out. Let’s say I want to form a group of accounts with 10K followers, so I go in and add these accounts into one chat. That’s not the way to go about it.

First thing I would do is I would check to see if these accounts grew organically or are accounts with a bunch of fake followers and fake engagement. I will tell you exactly how to figure out who is faking and who is not in next chapter.

Once you have made a list of accounts that are not faking, you should DM those accounts and ask if they are agree to participate in a Focus group and are willing to do what’s expected from every account in the group. Once confirmed, go ahead and invite all to join the group. From this point forward, you will have to keep others accountable for doing their part, since you cannot kick anyone out of the group once they are part of it.

I have been a part of a few engagement groups in the past. Some of them were put together by friends of mine that were not too familiar with Instagram. When I started doing some digging on the accounts that were in the group, I found out that out of 15 accounts only 3 were legit (including me). So, the group realistically only benefited the fake accounts.